A group of lifetime friends gather together to confront life, love, and now mortality
“Everything you want a novel about life, death, and friendship to be—smart, moving, sweeping, poetic, stinging, just beautiful. I loved these women (and their men) and this elegy to their long-reaching bonds.”
—Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage
Before Everything is a celebration of friendship and love between a group of women who have known each another since they were girls. They’ve faced everything together, from youthful sprees and scrapes to mid-life turning points. Now, as Anna, the group’s trailblazer and brightest spark, enters hospice, they gather to do what they’ve always done—talk and laugh and help each other make choices and plans, this time in Anna’s rural Massachusetts home. Helen, Anna’s best friend and a celebrated painter, is about to remarry. The others face their own challenges—Caroline with her sister’s mental health crisis; Molly with a teenage daughter’s rebellion; Ming with her law practice—dilemmas with kids and work and love. Before Everything is as funny as it is bittersweet, as the friends revel in the hilarious mistakes they’ve seen each another through, the secrets kept, and adventures shared. But now all sense of time has shifted, and the pattern of their lives together takes on new meaning. The novel offers a brilliant, emotionally charged portrait, deftly conveying the sweep of time over everyday lives, and showing how even in difficult endings, gifts can unfold. Above all it is an ode to friendship, and to how one person shapes the journeys of those around her.
Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint excerpts from the following copyrightedworks:“Tattered Kaddish”. Copyright © 1991 by Adrienne Rich. Copyright © 2016 by the Adrienne RichLiterary Trust. From Collected Poems 1950-2012 by Adrienne Rich. Used by permission of W. W. Norton& Company, Inc.“Stayin’ Alive,” words and music by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, and Robin Gibb. Copyright © 1977(renewed) Crompton Songs LLC and Gibb Brothers Music. All rights for Crompton Songs LLCadministered by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. All rights reserved. Used by permission of AlfredMusic.“Sunlight,” words and music by Jesse Colin Young. Copyright © 1969 by Pigfoot Music. Reprinted bypermission of Jesse Colin Young.“Willin’,” by Lowell George. Copyright © 1994 by Naked Snake Music. Reprinted by permission ofElizabeth George.“Angel from Montgomery,” words and music by John Prine. Copyright © 1971 (renewed) Walden Music,Inc. and Sour Grapes Music. All rights administered by WB Music Corp. All rights reserved. Used bypermission of Alfred Music.